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Roasted Jerk Chicken

Prepared in the oven, roasted jerk chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. With easy-to-follow instructions, this recipe cooks in under an hour. Don’t let the simplicity fool you – this jerk chicken recipe is full of flavor! If you love jerk flavor, try our wet-marinated jerk shrimp tacos next!

Roasted jerk chicken on a plate.

What is Jerk?

Jerk tends to be associated with a distinct flavor profile. While Jamaican jerk seasoning often contains certain spices, the term describes a cooking method. “Jerking” refers to a Jamaican culinary technique of preparing food over an open flame.

The jerk flavor we’ve come to know and love comes from a surprising ingredient – pimento wood. Pimento trees are native to Jamaica and the wood of choice for building fires for cooking. And wouldn’t you know it? Pimento trees produce allspice berries (pimento seeds), one of the main ingredients in jerk seasoning. While the wood burns, the natural oils are released, and the smoke infuses the grilled meat with deep aromatics.

The result is smoky chicken with tender, juicy inside and crispy, flavorful outside. I attempt to achieve a similar effect by roasting jerk chicken in the oven.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Jerk Seasoning: I have included my recipe for homemade jerk seasoning. You can usually find ready-made dry jerk spice in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or online. If you decide to make the homemade seasoning, it will last two months in a sealed mason jar. For this recipe, you only need two to four tablespoons, depending on the level of spice you prefer.
  • Chicken: Use bone-in, skin-on-leg quarters, legs, or thighs. You can also roast a whole chicken if you prefer. However, you should adjust the cooking time accordingly. The safe cooking temperature for chicken is 165°F (73°C).

How to Make Your Own Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Making your own jerk spice blend is easy, and because you’re preparing it at home, you can control the heat and the amount of salt used. Feel free to use store-bought jerk seasoning for the chicken, or you should try the spice blend we use.

Ingredients For Homemade Jerk Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon ground allspice (pimento seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

How to Make Roasted Jerk Chicken

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Then, combine the ingredients for jerk seasoning in a mixing bowl with olive oil.

Jamaican jerk seasoning in a small bowl.

Step 2: Dry the chicken thoroughly with a cloth to remove excess moisture.

Raw chicken in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Coat the chicken with the jerk seasoning mixture.

Coated chicken lined onto a wire rack.

Step 4: Lower the heat to 400°F (204°C), then set a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet.

Line the chicken onto the wire rack. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C).

Chicken roasting in the oven.

Step 5: Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted jerk chicken on a plate.

Expert Tips

For details on how to cook the BEST chicken legs, read about how to bake chicken legs in the oven.

  • Achieve crispy, golden-brown skin on your drumsticks by drying them thoroughly with a cloth to remove excess moisture before seasoning and roasting them. 
  • Start by preheating the oven to 450°F (232°C), the same way you preheat a grill. Then, lower the temperature and roast the chicken at 400°F (204°C) for even cooking.
  • Insert your food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken drumstick. The safe cooking temperature for chicken is 165°F (73°C).
  • Don’t skip resting the chicken! After cooking, let the chicken set for 10 minutes; this allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicy jerk chicken.

If you enjoy this meal, try one of these chicken recipes!  

Can I Make This Recipe on the Grill?

Absolutely, in fact, it’s encouraged! If you can find pimento wood chips, that would take this recipe to the next level.
1. Preheat the grill by setting the burners on high for about 10 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat (set the burners to medium) and grill for 35 to 45 minutes turning occasionally until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C).

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to bake jerk chicken in the oven?

I like to set the oven to 450°F (232°C) at first to get it hot (like a grill or an open fire), but I roast the chicken at 400°F (204°C) for 35 to 45 minutes, and they come out perfect every time.

Is jerk chicken supposed to be dry?

My roasted jerk chicken features a dry jerk rub with olive oil to help the spices adhere. The result is juicy chicken with crispy skin. Despite the name dry-rub, my chicken is anything but dry. It is juicy and falls off the bone!

Other recipes for jerk chicken involve making a wet marinade using a blend of dry spices, scorching scotch bonnets, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic cloves, and ginger in a food processor. If you want to see what that looks like, check out my jerk shrimp tacos with a wet marinade.

Is Jerk Chicken Healthy?

When focusing on your health, I recommend cooking at home and preparing your jerk marinade or dry-rub from scratch, as many store-bought options contain excessive salt and sugar.

More International Dinner Ideas:

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Roasted jerk chicken on a plate.

Roasted Jerk Chicken

Tressa Jamil
With easy-to-follow instructions, oven roasted jerk chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and it cooks in under an hour.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 240 kcal
Ingredients
  
Instructions
 
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Then, combine the ingredients for jerk seasoning in a mixing bowl with olive oil.
  • Dry the chicken thoroughly with a cloth to remove excess moisture, and coat the chicken with the jerk seasoning mixture.
  • Lower the heat to 400°F (204°C), then set a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet. Line the chicken onto the wire rack. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C). Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Achieve crispy, golden-brown skin on your drumsticks by drying them thoroughly with a cloth to remove excess moisture before seasoning and roasting them. 
  • Start by preheating the oven to 450°F (232°C), the same way you preheat a grill. Then, lower the temperature and roast the chicken at 400°F (204°C) for even cooking.
  • Insert your food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken drumstick. The safe cooking temperature for chicken is 165°F (73°C).
  • Don’t skip resting the chicken! After cooking, let the chicken set for 10 minutes; this allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicy jerk chicken.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 2 Chicken Pieces | Calories: 240 kcal | Carbohydrates: 2 g | Protein: 44 g | Fat: 9 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Cholesterol: 100 mg | Sodium: 580 mg | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin C: 4 mg | Calcium: 4 mg | Iron: 8 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 8 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Michael Anderson

Friday 26th of May 2023

The outside was beautifully crispy, while the inside remained juicy and succulent. Kudos.

Tressa Jamil

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

I am glad the chicken turned out tasty for you, and thanks for leaving a comment and rating.

Sarah Thompson

Friday 26th of May 2023

I just had to drop a comment about your roasted jerk chicken recipe because the flavor is delicious and the chicken was perfectly cooked. This recipe is definitely going into my regular rotation. Thanks for sharing!

Tressa Jamil

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

Sarah, thank you for taking the time to leave and comment and what high praise! I am happy you have found a keeper.

fede

Monday 23rd of May 2022

The recipe turned out super moist and we loved it. We will make it again.

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Monday 23rd of May 2022

Great! I am happy you enjoyed it!

Bianca

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

I love how easy this was to make! Barely any hands on time :D

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

We love connivence meals around here!

RJ

Saturday 21st of May 2022

I love how great this chicken dish came out. The flavors are very rich, the skin was crispy and the chicken was moist. What else can you want? Delicious!

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 12th of June 2022

The flavor on the skin is my favorite part!